National Floral Emblem: Rose
In 1986 President Ronald Reagan signed legislation to make the rose the floral emblem of the United States.
The rose is a symbol of love and beauty (as well as war and politics) the world over.
The rose has been around for about 35 million years and grows naturally throughout North America. Roses are red, pink, white, or yellow and can have a wonderfully rich aroma. The petals and rose hips are edible and have been used in medicines since ancient times. Rose hips (the fruit of the rose which forms at base of the flower) are eaten in winter by wild birds and other animals.
36 U.S. Code § 303 - National floral emblem
Following is the actual wording of the resolution that President Ronald Reagan signed on Nov. 20, 1986.
“Proclamation No. 5574: The Rose Proclaimed the National Floral Emblem of the United States of America.
Proc. No. 5574. Nov. 20, 1986, 51 F.R. 42197, provided:
Americans have always loved the flowers with which God decorates our land. More often than any other flower, we hold the rose dear as the symbol of life and love and devotion, of beauty and eternity. For the love of man and woman, for the love of mankind and God, for the love of country, Americans who would speak the language of the heart do so with a rose.
We see proofs of this everywhere. The study of fossils reveals that the rose has existed in America for age upon age. We have always cultivated roses in our gardens. Our first President, George Washington, bred roses, and a variety he named after his mother is still grown today. The White House itself boasts a beautiful Rose Garden. We grow roses in all our fifty States. We find roses throughout our art, music, and literature. We decorate our celebrations and parades with roses. Most of all, we present roses to those we love, and we lavish them on our altars, our civil shrines, and the final resting places of our honored dead.
The American people have long held a special place in their hearts for roses. Let us continue to cherish them, to honor the love and devotion they represent, and to bestow them on all we love just as God has bestowed them on us.
The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 159 [Pub.L. 99.449, Oct. 7, 1986, 100 Stat. 1128, which enacted this section], has designated the rose as the National Floral Emblem of the United States and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation declaring this fact.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the rose as the National Floral Emblem of the United States of America.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eleventh.
White House Rose Garden
National Floral Emblem